Since receiving a wedding invite to a colleagues wedding Ive been speculating about what a Kenyan wedding would be like. Ive heard that weddings in Narobi can be a lavish show of glitz and glamour which can near bankrupt the family. They hire Mercedes for the family, order huge opulent cakes, dress in designer meringues which cost the earth and invite upwards of 300 people.
Yesterday all my speculation was over and today we attended a real, live wedding. You know that you would never dream of arriving at a wedding in the UK late? Here you wouldn’t dream of arriving to a wedding on time. I really struggled with that. For those who know me, I don’t like to wait around and last minute is my nickname, but arriving late to someone’s wedding, even I wouldn’t do that intentionally!! We rolled in nervously 30 minutes after the given start time of the ceremony. We were 2 out of 10 in the empty church, the band was still rehearsing, the flowers were being put into place with no sign of a vicar or ushers. The advice was right, the ceremony finally started 1 and ½ hours after the official time!!
The wedding was so much fun. The bridal procession shimmered down the aisle to some funky tune and the rest of the service there was dancing at every opportunity. Another comedy moment was when the vicar asked if there was any known reason why the couple couldn’t get married. This bit lasted about 20 minutes as he first got the groom to check it was indeed his intended bride (Vicar “make sure its really her as she has a lot of sisters!!”). Then he asked the couple one by one if they had any thing they might be hiding and they had to declare into a mic that they didn’t. Its not uncommon to have a couple of spouses at the same time. Then it was the congregations turn. Not only did they have to have a valid reason but also be of sound mind. This was repeated in a number of local languages and with great gaps of silent suspense! Some late comers made a commotion as they came in and there was a collective intake of breath to see if they might object. They didn’t and on we went. Two hours later and we emerged into the sunlight now initiated into the ways of the Kenyan wedding.